Sunday, January 29, 2006

Turning guns into ploughshares?

The Hamas' surprise victory in the Palestinian Elections may yet be a good thing. For one, it demonstrated that the democratic process is alive and well in the relatively young self-governing Palestinian Authority. This gives legitimacy and credibility to the Hamas as the people's representatives. Therefore, the Hamas must, by reason of choice, form a government that represent these people.

Of course, many peace-loving countries are alarmed because the Hamas has openly advocated violence as a means towards their ends. They have yet to renounced their stated objectives of destroying Israel - the second time within the last year that an elected government has come to power with such bald aggression (the other being Iran).

On the other hand, the world can now deal with a duly elected government, not merely a terrorist group. This can be more straightforward. With the weight of a nation on its shoulders, it is, hopefully, now less likely for the Hamas government to behave purely as a terrorist organisation. If it wants to take its place in the nations of the world, it has to follow the rules of international relations and civil behaviour set down by these nations (and these are not just the Western powers).

But first, the Palestinians must resolve their domestic differences, and quickly at that. Otherwise, it cannot hope to move forward much further in its quest for peaceful home for its people, much less think of pushing a nation into the Mediterranean Sea.

No comments: